(Long Island, N.Y.) When the New York Mets decided to replace both their general manager and manager, it appeared that the much-needed rebuilding process was well under way. Sandy Alderson was tabbed as the replacement for Omar Minaya and his managerial search resulted in Terry Collins being named the twentieth in team history.
There was a sentiment amongst the fan base for Wally Backman to get a shot at the job. The former second baseman was a spark plug on the beloved 1986 Mets championship club and did a good job as the skipper of the Brooklyn Cyclones last summer.
Backman interviewed for the position, but Alderson decided on someone with major league experience as a field boss. Collins may have had that advantage over someone such as Backman, but he also has had a history of meltdowns and being unable to handle the heat.
We were reminded of what occurred to Collins in both Anaheim and Japan during his post-game press conference following the 9-3 home loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I’m running out of ideas here,” Collins said with obvious frustration. It’s hard to blame Collins for being handed a team that was thin before injuries ravaged what little talent they had, but throwing your hands up and admitting that there is not much left to do to correct the problems won’t do much for ticket sales – especially on the first of June.
“I don’t have the answers,” continued Collins. “I’m trying. I’m wringing the rag dry of coming in here and looking at you guys (the reporters), and having you look at me like I’m a stinking fool. And I told these guys (the players), ‘We’re good enough. We’ve got to play the game right. We just can’t continue to make foolish mistakes.”
It is human nature to become frustrated when things are not going as planned, but Alderson had to know that periods like this were to be expected. The purse strings were and will continue to be tight so there will be no saviors coming into town by the trading deadline. That will probably be the day that we say goodbye to Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, so things are going to get much worse before they get better.
By beginning to commit to younger players in 2010, the Mets are a few years away from competing for a wild card spot. Knowing that and continuing the trend, Alderson would have been better served by going with a minor league skipper to grow along with the roster. Bringing in a burnt out retread like Collins is a stopgap measure and he will not be around when the team’s fortunes begin to turn for the better.
At least Collins is showing some emotion, and that is a breath of fresh air from his predecessor. Collins may have been a step in the right direction, but Backman is the antithesis of Jerry Manuel and that is what the Mets needed.
Perhaps Alderson will rethink it after the season concludes.